As you will know if you clicked the above video, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s great opera, Don Giovanni, premiered 227 years ago tonight, on October 29, 1787, at the Estates Theatre in Prague where the video was filmed. The tenor is Rolando Villazon, a Mexican-born singer who is one of the hottest stars in today’s opera world.
Don Giovanni is one of the greatest operas ever written by any definition of that term. It is the 10th most-performed opera in the world. Contrary to what you may think from the movie Amadeus, which is heavily fictionalized, the original premiere of Don Giovanni was not melancholy or poorly-received. Indeed the opera was a smashing triumph. It was a near thing, though: Mozart finished writing it the very day it was due to be performed for the first time. Prague loved him and his music, and Don Giovanni‘s triumph gave him every right to consider himself at the top of his game.
I picked the above video because it incorporates some of the history of that first premiere. Now to round out the picture here’s Villazon actually performing a famous aria from it. (I do not know if that was filmed at the Estates).
And here is the original playbill from the premiere of the opera in Vienna a few months later.